For months we’ve been hearing about the debut of Brodus Clay!
It started with vignettes saying that he was coming to Raw. Then it turned into being something of a bumper for segments involving John Laurinitis, who would be on his cell phone talking to Brodus and usually telling him that he’d debut the next week, then the next week, then the next, and the next. It got to the point where it became a thing on twitter to post what would happen before he got to debut. But they made the proclamation last week that he was definitely going to debut this week. And they kept their promise. It was just, a little different than we had expected.
First, a bit of history. Brodus Clay started his televised WWE career on the fourth season of NXT with his mentor being Ted DiBiase. He would win a match, however, to chose a new pro, which turned out to be Alberto Del Rio. Although he finished NXT in second place, Del Rio would hire him as his bodyguard and the two would battle Edge and Christian. Clay even accompanied Del Rio to the ring in his Wrestlemania 27 match against Edge for the World Championship. After that, however, he would be relegated to Superstars. Where WWE performers go to be forgotten.
Then after all the hype of his debut (because we’re supposed to forget that he was on TV for six months at the beginning of last year.) he returned. Or debuted. Or re-debuted. Or something.
Then Justin Roberts started announcing someone from “Planet Funk” and referring to him as “The Funkasaurus” I thought for sure that this was going to be some comedy gimmick character that Clay was going to destroy. But no, it was Clay himself. In a strange amalgamation of Flash Funk, Ernest Miller and King Kong Bundy, Clay made his way to the ring in a red jumpsuit with flygirls dancing on either side of him. The girls, by the way, were NXT 3 contestant Naomi Knight and Tough Enough contestant Ariane Andrew.
My initial reaction was to hate it. This is 2012 for God’s sake! We’re past the era where characters like that was okay! I don’t know that characters like this were EVER okay! I mean how much success did Flash Funk or Ernest Miller really see? They were kind of comedic, throw away mid-carders. Is that where WWE really wants this guy who they spent months building up the anticipation of his debut?
Then I thought about it a bit. This is something they needed to do with him. People were expecting the same old- same old monster that comes out, destroys people and leaves, especially after his run in early 2011. That same character we’ve seen debut and redebut a hundred times. That same character that really never goes anywhere.
This was something very different and very unexpected and it got people talking. Which is really the most important thing. Is the gimmick silly, OH YEAH! Will it get Clay anywhere? Probably not in it’s current incarnation. But let’s not forget how many guys started their runs with completely different characters than they are now. John Cena is hardly that kid wearing the purple trunks that he debuted as, he’s even a ways away from the trash-talking rapper persona he was in the mid 2000s. Mark Henry is a world away from Sexual Chocolate. Triple H is a far cry from the Connecticut Blueblood in the jacket with the riding crop doing the curtsey. Remember what The Rock looked like when he came on the scene? Remember when Edge and Christian were vampires? Remember when Kevin Nash was Vinnie Vegas/Oz/Diesel? Remember when Kane was a dentist?
I rest my case.
Brodus gave a debut that caught people sideways and then got them talking about him. It may seem silly now, but so did the debuts of a lot of guys who are mainstays in the main event picture. He’ll change and evolve as every wrestler must do, and who knows, we may have seen the birth of the next Rock.